Summer means no school, sleeping later, a slower pace, family time, vacations, travel and, if you’re in Children’s Ministries, Vacation Bible School. With proper planning, execution and follow-up, VBS can be a summer highlight – and something kids will come back for again and again. Make sure people know what God did in, through and with VBS!
One of the best ways to do this is to solicit feedback from parents, kids, committee members, teachers, helpers, and other volunteers. Giving people a chance to chime in and share their “two cents” lets them know you value their opinions. This can be done on paper or at a post-VBS debrief. Schedule a de-brief about two weeks after VBS concludes. Give people some time to “rest and recuperate,” but don’t let too much time pass between VBS and your de-brief. People’s calendars book up fast. They’ll move on to other things, leave VBS in the “done with” column and you’ll lose a valuable opportunity to gain insights and “lessons learned.” So, wait – but not too long. Also, make sure you have an agenda for a de-brief meeting to keep it on track. This may also be a good time for an informal “staff appreciation” brunch or luncheon. Keep it simple.
Design and distribute a survey for your staff to evaluate this year’s VBS. What worked? What didn’t? What areas were strong? What areas need improvement? Give people a chance to share their opinions. Your workers are more likely to volunteer next year if they feel their contribution to this year’s was valued and appreciated.
Speaking of valuing your VBS staff, make sure every member of your VBS team receives not only a verbal thank you, but also a tangible “thank you” as well. These can be as simple as a personal note and chocolates, or flowers, bookmarks, gift certificates, freshly baked cookies, a framed “crew” photo, or…? Staff thank yous need not break the bank, but they do need to be. Let your imagination and creativity soar.
Some people see VBS as a week of “free babysitting.” They may not know what God or how He worked in the lives of parents, kids and staff unless you tell them! Encourage people to share their stories from VBS. There’s nothing like some eye-witness accounts to affirm and applaud the hard work your staff put in to pull off a successful VBS – and stir up some excitement for next year! Here are some examples (you might publish these on your web site, blog, or C.M. newsletter. Be sure to ask for permission first if you attach any names):
How did God work in your life before, during, and after VBS?
“It was GREAT to be involved, sharing God’s truth with kids. This strengthened my relationship with God.”
“Some very difficult things have been happening in my life, and VBS really helped me connect with the Lord.”
“VBS kept my focus on others rather than myself!”
“Seeing preschoolers understand big concepts was really fun.”
“He helped me connect with some neighborhood kids!”
“God spoke to me this week about faith in Him being foremost no matter what the circumstances.”
“I saw that nothing too big for God!”
“Watching God work in and through VBS stretched and strengthened my faith. I never knew working with kids could be so much fun – or so rewarding and spiritually enriching!”
“Thank you so much for offering this program. My kids loved it! When are you gonna do it next year?”